Celebrating diverse cultures

For the first time, St Mary’s Cathedral celebrated their “Parish Cultural Day 2019” on May 11 and 12, themed To nurture active church participation with the Eucharist as the source and summit of Christian life. Over 1,000 parishioners attended the event.

May 31, 2019

SANDAKAN: For the first time, St Mary’s Cathedral celebrated their “Parish Cultural Day 2019” on May 11 and 12, themed To nurture active church participation with the Eucharist as the source and summit of Christian life. Over 1,000 parishioners attended the event.

On the first day of the programme, traditional games were introduced to the younger generation so that they will understand their roots, identity and belonging. Some of the games were Chinese Chess, Burr Puzzle, Diabolo and Sepak Bulu Ayam (Chinese) Rampanau, Monopuk, Monungkava, Monokon Bakas and Monuntung Babandil (Dusun), Bewiton and Keso (Timorese), Cara Cross and Luksong Tinik Brod (Filipino).

At the same time, there were cooking demonstrations of traditional dishes in each traditional hut such as Jagung Titih, Chicken Adobo, Bosou Sada, Hinava, Chicken Pansu, Umai Kaki Ayam, Sayur Ensabi, Tang Yuan, Hakka Hee Pan, Zongzi and many more. In the afternoon, the ethnic groups, in traditional costumes, presented cultural dances accompanied by traditional music.

On the second day, the Eucharistic celebration commenced at 8.30am with Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom celebrating and Fr David Garaman, Fr Thomas Makajil and Fr Sunny Chung concelebrating.

Bishop Julius in his homily said, “What is interesting in our parish is that we remain united in spite of our diversity because we believe in the one shepherd, Jesus Christ. Through the Cultural Day activity, parishioners are united to implement our diocesan mission: Nurturing active church participation with the Eucharist as the source and summit of Christian life. This is to say that whatever we do, we keep our focus on Christ as the centre and channel of grace in our lives as Christians.

Pilis Malim, Chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council, in his speech shared, “The culture of every race is a culture that God has given for a particular purpose, especially in terms of the unity of the people of that particular race. God also allows us to use the culture to express our gratitude and to glorify Him.”

The process in preparing for the event is a clear sign where the people of all ethnic groups in the parish came together in full commitment to realise the Cultural Day celebration. It is a step forward in achieving our vision to build a ‘Christ-centred community, serving one another with love.’

Fr David Garaman, the rector of St Mary’s Cathedral, said, “The celebration has strengthened the people through the Eucharist as the source of unity for all our activities. The 2nd Diocesan Delegates Assembly has resolved to prioritise the first diocesan mission goal for the year 2019 to nurture active church participation with the Eucharist as the source and summit of Christian life.”

The event is geared towards the said goal and the involvement of the various communities is a sign of strengthening the relationship in building a Christ-centred community. He extended his appreciation to all the members of the Parish Pilgrimage and Social Function Ministry and all generous sponsors in realising the first Parish Cultural Day celebration.

After the Eucharistic celebration, the parishioners, together with the clergy, religious and the Bishop, adjourned to the Cultural Day site adjacent to the Parish Hall, to witness the launching ceremony of the monument that symbolises the Eucharist. Then they visited the traditional huts of the six main ethnic groups of the Parish, namely Tionghua, Dusun Labuk, Dusun Tambunan, Timorese, Iban and the Filipinos.

During the two-day celebration, parishioners were encouraged to wear their own traditional costumes. It was beautiful to see the people in their colourful costumes showcasing their music, dances, arts, crafts, foods and languages.

The event ended at around 3.00pm. Through this event, we believe that the various communities can journey together in harmony in building a Christ-centred community. We need to continue to pursue our dream to achieve unity through diversity with active church participation. — By Euthalia SOCCOM

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